Automating Your Productized Services (Part 2)

While productization often relies on technology and processes, it doesn’t mean you’ll be able to create fully automated services that require no attention on your part.

Much of your products’ value will still come from the high-level skill you and your team bring to each project. That means your employees probably aren’t about to lose their jobs to robots anytime soon.

In fact, your people will likely end up with more meaningful work because they can focus on the really important stuff.

Software and processes can help you scale up exponentially by serving more customers with a smaller team.

If you’ve read Part 1 in our three-part series on productization, you’ll already have a fairly clear idea of a specific service or two that you want to productize.

Now we’ll walk you through the next phase of the implementation process: leveraging technology to turn your service into an easily replicable product.

How Companies Are Automating Their Processes

Using technologies to organize, market, and manage your processes is a core part of productized services. The following are just a few examples of how companies are using technologies to automate:

In short, technology doesn’t replace real relationships with customers following company Productization. It enhances them.

Steps to Leveraging Technologies

If you’re going to be implementing software to automate your productized services, you should already have a clear idea of all the steps involved from start to finish…

List all key tasks

Make a list of all the activities you perform during each of the three phases of the product cycle. Then break each activity down into smaller tasks.

This list serves as your blueprint for reproducing the product. By putting even the smallest tasks on paper you get a birds eye perspective on what needs to be done and how those tasks can be restructured.

For example, you might have had one person handle a particular step in product delivery, but after breaking it into smaller actions, you find that some of them are great candidates for automation.

Group tasks by level of sophistication

Put all tasks into one of two categories, based on their level of complexity.

With SPP, for example, your website could automatically send customers an intake form not only to collect their payment information but also to assess their needs. This can cut your consultation time to a fraction of its current length. Customers can also be automatically prompted to pay upon purchasing the product rather than receiving an invoice after the work is completed.

Designing or choosing the right system

Great work! You’ve determined which elements of your product cycle you’ll need to automate.

Now you’re ready to either find existing systems that can carry out those processes, or to work with a software developer to create brand new ones. You may want to use different platforms or apps to handle different components of your product cycle and connect them together through custom APIs or tools like Zapier.

Determine if existing software can work for you

Here are just a few examples of what’s already out there:

Don’t assume the right platform isn’t out there already just because of your complex needs. For example, many analytical platforms on the market can be customized enough to meet most companies’ requirements.

And remember, you can use different platforms or apps to handle different components of your product cycle.

Consider a customized solution

Perhaps you’ve decided to implement a system that helps carry out the bulk of your work, and none of the existing options fit the bill.

If so, you may need to work with a software developer to create it, or to adapt an existing open source solution to your needs (such as building a custom plugin for WordPress).

Final thoughts

At the end of the day, for most businesses it’s better to have a solution that handles a few important tasks well, as opposed to something that’s supposed to do it all but falls short on delivering the core features.

Stay tuned for the final article in this series. In Part 3, we’ll discuss how to prepare for your product launch: pricing your services, creating your marketing strategy, and introducing your productized services to existing clients.